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Novak Djokovic lifts lid on his tough year so far, saying: 'I still have to deal with it'

Novak Djokovic reflects at Serbian Open

Novak Djokovic has admitted he is still 'dealing' with the mental effects of his tough year, but he is slowly getting back to normal. 

Djokovic has been criticised and often vilified for his decision not to get vaccinated against Covid-19, with him controversially deported from Australia at the start of the year over the issue.

He has since clarified his stance, saying he accepts and respects the rules and is willing to miss tournaments to stand by his principles.

That has seen him restricted to just a handful of tournaments this year and he has understandably been short of his best during them, although there were positive signs during his recent run to the Serbian Open final.

And, as he prepares for the Madrid Masters this week, he has made a stark admission about what he has been through mentally.

“The challenge is definitely more on the mental and emotional side,” Djokovic said.

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“Of course, I have never experienced anything similar to what I experienced early this season and I did not know how that’s going to affect me.

"It obviously still – you know, I still have to deal with it to some extent. It’s not as powerful that it was in the first two, three months of the year.

“I feel like the more I play, the more I’m in this environment, the more comfortable I feel.”

Novak Djokovic will open his Madrid campaign  with a tough match against Gael Monfils after the Frenchman came through his first round clash with Carlos Gimeno Valero on Tuesday.

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